The chance to win a 2015 Melbourne Cup ballot exemption in a race named in honour of his co-trainer Bart Cummings puts veteran galloper Precedence right in the frame for a fifth shot at the world’s richest handicap at Flemington this spring.
The Bart & James Cummings-trained son of Zabeel is a rising ten-year-old but according to the Cup’s King’s grandson and co-trainer is going “terrific” ahead of his likely return to racing in the $175,000 Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick in Sydney on September 5.
“He’s actually going terrific – we had a little plan to be first-up in the Chelmsford (Stakes) at Randwick,” James Cummings told Racing Ahead on RSN.
From there plans are to take Precedence, who was last seen running a brave fifth when under three lengths off the winner Leebaz in the Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast in late April, to Melbourne for another attempt at winning a race the older Cummings has enjoyed a record 12 wins in.
Bart hasn’t trained a Melbourne Cup winner since securing his dozen with Viewed in 2008 and Precedence has tried four times to make it a baker’s dozen finishing eighth in 2010 (Americain), 11th in 2011 (Dunaden), ninth in 2012 (Green Moon) and his best effort when sixth behind German raider Protectionist last year after missing the two mile classic on the first Tuesday of November in 2013.
Now the 64-start warhorse and winner of over $1.94 million in prize money will try to make the 24-starter Melbourne Cup field this spring via a run in the $300,000 Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m).
Run at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes Day on October 4, a month before the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) lights up the same track as Race 7 on November 3, The Bart Cummings offers a ballot free ride into ‘race that stops a nation’ for the first time this season.
“If he’s in good form we’ve got our eye on the Bart Cummings to bring him down to Melbourne third-up for that race,” Cummings said.
“I think that’s really going to be his race – and create an exemption for the Melbourne Cup and I think he should really relish the 2500m at Flemington.
“I get the feeling that he’s still got some good racing in him this preparation and, if this was to be his last, he could certainly go out with a bang.”
And doing it on the back of a win in a race named in Bart Cummings’ honour would be an added bonus, the master horseman likely chuffed with the move to make the Turnbull Stakes Day event a Melbourne Cup ballot exempt race.
“I suspect he’s very honoured, he appreciates the steps taken and he understands the difficulty in doing that and the consequences and the importance of a decision like that,” Cummings added.
“By and large common sense prevailed there and you have to give plenty of credit to the VRC and Racing Victoria for initiating it.
“(Bart has) been a long-time advocator for a race like that to ensure an exemption for the Melbourne Cup.
“He’s now got his wish so he’s been determined to find a horse good enough to win it and that’s why we’ve got a really single-minded approach with Precedence to try and get the job done with him.”
Futures Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au currently has Precedence listed as one of the $201 roughies in the all-in markets.
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